CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - Gone, but not forgotten: CMPD Officers came together with airport staff to make sure their co-worker's memory was honored. Officials say he was killed by a drunk driver back in January.
"It didn't matter what he was facing-- the grin is what he will be known for," said CMPD Officer Brad Gunner.
A room of people filled the auditorium at Charlotte Douglas International Airport Tuesday to remember 69-year-old Jose Carpio's smile.
"He was such a light here," said Jennifer Salvatore, who worked with Carpio. "He was what we should all be like."
"Jose was amazing," said Jim MacDonald, who also worked with Carpio. "What he represented and what he did for this airport and the people here-- he will truly be missed."
Carpio worked at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. He was tragically killed by a drunk driver on his way to work around 4 a.m. on January 27.
"I just feel what happened to him is very tragic," said Carpio's sister, Susie Carpio. "And that's what hurts the most."
Susie and Jose had lost touch over the past decade or so. She was here Tuesday thanks to airport staff and some CMPD officers.
"Through social media, we were able to make contact with his sister," said Gunner. "Jet Blue was instrumental in allowing the family to fly here for the ceremony."
With no immediate family in the area, the medical examiner was having difficulty locating family members.
CMPD officers, along with airport staff, took it upon themselves to track her down. They also launched a "go fund me" page to make sure Jose received a proper service.
"The concern with him not having family in the area-- we didn't want his memory to go in vain," said Gunner.
The lives he touched and had an impact on-- those he worked with daily-- wanted to make sure his life was remembered in the most delightful way.
"He was my brother and I love him very much," said Carpio. "We are still coping with this and I thank the officers and everybody who put this event together."
"To know she was touched by the ceremony means the world to me," said Gunner.
A community working together to say goodbye to someone who was loved by so many.
"My brother was a good person and everybody showed how good and caring he was," said Carpio. "He didn't deserve to die going to work at 4 a.m. in the morning.. it's just heartbreaking."
The drunk driver was also killed in that accident and had just been arrested in October for a prior DWI.
Carpio's sister says they plan on flying his ashes to Boliva-- where he will rest peacefully by his parents.